Science is experiencing a genomics revolution, and Jay Shendure is one of the innovators sustaining its momentum. His work has helped make DNA sequencing faster, cheaper, and more informative.
Shendure is a methods developer at heart, but his deep knowledge of medicine and genetics keeps him focused on new technologies that can make a big impact on our understanding of biology and disease. As a graduate student, Shendure laid the groundwork for today's next-generation sequencing when he developed a method for genome sequencing that simultaneously analyzes millions of DNA molecules – an approach only about one-tenth as expensive as conventional methods.
In his own lab, Shendure developed a platform for sequencing only the genome's protein-coding regions – the exome – and demonstrated how this cost-effective strategy can identify disease-related gene mutations. Labs around the world have since used exome sequencing to discover genes associated with hundreds of human disorders.
More recently, Shendure's team showed that it's possible to sequence the complete genome of a fetus from samples obtained noninvasively from the parents. As Shendure and others apply his methods to real problems, his cross-disciplinary lab team continues to develop new technologies.